SWC probing NGOs for forceful religious conversion

Published On: September 17, 2017 03:53 AM NPT By: Chhabi Lal Tiwari

PARBAT, Sept 16:; The Social Welfare Council (SWC) has begun investigating two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - Good Neighbor International and Society Development Center (SODEC) Nepal - for allegedly misusing their project funds for forceful religious conversion in Parbat district.

Officials from SWC under the leadership of the council's Legal Officer Ramesh Raj Karki recently made a field visit for investigation and returned to Kathmandu. They conducted field visits in various wards of Falobas Municipality and Modi Rural Municipality, where the NGOs are conducting their 'Parbat Community Project'. 

The two NGOs have been conducting their campaigns in Falobas Municipality's Bhangara, Limithana, as well as Deurali, Kyang, Bhukatangley of Modi Rural Municipality. The NGOs had targeted a total of 1,320 children through their campaign.

According to SWC, the NGOs pressurized children under their program to convert their religion and also persuade their families to do so.

Good Neighbor International has been working in Parbat since 2012. Since then, the NGO is said to have misused the money meant for providing financial assistance to children. Likewise, the NGO also registered a co-operative related to coffee growing, signed contract with local farmers, and failed to provide compensation to the farmers as per the contract. 

Similarly, the other NGO, SODEC has also been accused of financial irregularities. According to the complaint, the NGO misused its project funds; provided services to those with political connections in a biased manner, and steered children into Christianity in the name of psychology education.

However, Good Neighbor's local partner SODEC defended the INGO stating that they are not involved in any financial irregularities. Organizing a press conference, program coordinator Devi Prasad Timilsina said they have not embezzled a single penny and claimed that they have been falsely accused of being involved in forceful religious conversion.

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